Francoeur ready for leadership opportunity with young Royals team

francoeur 12-13-10_032.jpgJeff Francoeur
was officially introduced to the Kansas City media on Monday.  After a few questions, it seemed as if the outfielder with the engaging personality had known the reporters for several years.  Francoeur’s easy-going perspective should translate to a leadership role with a Kansas City franchise that is loaded with top prospects.  Francoeur transitioned to the majors in a similar situation in Atlanta.  He was a 21-year old outfielder on the 2005 “Baby Braves”.  A total of 18 rookies were a part of that club that won a division title.  Francoeur was helped by a group of veteran players that included Chipper Jones, Brian Jordan and John Smoltz

Francoeur, who also played in the 2010 World Series with Texas, looks to be the mentor to a group that includes Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.  Francoeur sees the upside in the future of the franchise and is eager to be a part of it. 

While he accepts the leadership label, Francoeur also sees the best days of his career in the future.  Just 26, he knows what he needs to work on and cites that he has time to make improvements as many players figure out various parts of their game at later stages.

A few Francoeur facts and our observations:

francoeur 12-13-10_189.jpg*He is excited to play and live in Kansas City, citing similarities to the Atlanta suburb that he grew up in.  He has heard many good things about the city from former Royals and Braves GM John Schuerholz.

*Francoeur is looking forward to being reunited with pitcher Kyle Davies.  They played Little League together, both debuted with the Braves in 2005 and are good friends.

*Francoeur is passionate about football, including his hometown Atlanta Falcons.  He turned down a gridiron scholarship to Clemson by signing with the Braves out of high school.  Francoeur is already researching his new teammates as he plans to have a friendly football rivalry with Nebraska alum Alex Gordon.

*He sees himself as a gap-to-gap and doubles hitter, which should translate well to a spacious Kauffman Stadium.  Most of his home runs are line drives, not towering fly balls.  He told the media his goal each year is to hit 20 homers and 40 doubles. 

*He weighed 212 pounds during his best year in the Majors (2007).  Francoeur then added weight in an effort to improve his power, peaking at 242 pounds.  He is now looking to go back to a more athletic frame and a weight around 210.  Francoeur weighed 217 during his physical yesterday morning, which he jokingly attributed to a big breakfast.

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